GregAgnew — August 17, 2010 - 10:12pm
In the Sunday Boston Globe, published on August 15, 2010, Michelle Morgan Bolton, Globe Correspondent for the Westwood/Dedham areas, was charged with the assignment of writing a story to highlight Westwood’s second attempt since 1987 to re-write its Town Charter. Sparking this article were numerous suggested changes in 2009 to the charter by Westwood residents Michael F. Walsh (current State Senate Candidate), David Feyler, Jason Lee, and Myself.
My attempt to change the way we vote in Westwood garnered the most vocal support at a town meeting in early 2009, when I proposed that we change Town Election day to Saturday, instead of Tuesday, citing that it was safer for both children, and their parents, to vote on Saturday. This move could also boost participation almost 20%, providing people with more time to vote on the weekends, when they don’t have to worry about getting to work on time after voting on a Tuesday, or having to rush home from work in order to beat the early evening poll closures. In the end, the petition was voted down, but not without discussion. Selectman Pat Ahearn was concerned that the move may bar certain individuals (such as Orthodox Jews) from voting on Saturday, since their religious obligations prevent them from using modern technology (such as cars, as a mode of transportation) on Saturdays.
However, during my research for this proposal, I found that out of all of the residents in Westwood, only a select few observed strict Jewish practices and were able to vote via absentee ballot, just like many of our troops fighting overseas who reside in Westwood. I even took the time to speak with Jewish residents, who all agreed with my petition and supported my cause. I also called the Westwood Council on Aging to make sure that the vans that transported seniors to and from the polls would still run at no additional cost to the town. All my bases were covered, however, so I was not necessarily unhappy with the outcome.
During my petition’s journey to the floor of town meeting, I was scheduled to appear in front of the Financial Commission to state my case in order for them to suggest a “no” or “yes” vote in their annual report. Even though my petition, and several others had absolutely nothing to do with the town’s finances, it’s still a common practice for some reason. I acknowledge that the move to voting on Saturday could slightly more (having to pay poll workers and the Town Clerk etc…), it was well worth it. Due to a scheduling conflict, I was unable to make the presentation to the FinCom, and I charged Michael F. Walsh to speak on my behalf. Although Michael spoke well, my name was publicly (as I was told) berated due to my decision to focus on my then studies at Assumption College.
In the end, I was not disappointed with the decision of the town not to support my petition, rather, I was unhappy with the way I was treated.
I was proud that I not only tried (once again) to make a difference at such a young age, but I was also proud that I garnered some support from old friends, and some new ones. This article in the Globe only further motivates me to one day run again for public office, and to make my best attempt every day to promote meaningful solutions to complex problems we face. Perhaps my attempt, in addition to many others’ attempts since 1987, who tried to move Westwood in a meaningful direction, sparked a discussion, that eventually led to the forming of the Charter Commission.
And that, I too can say, I’m very proud of.
For the full article: Click Here!
GregAgnew — April 18, 2010 - 7:22pm
Westwood Resident & Author Steven Greffenius will be hosting a “Candidate’s Discussion Night” for voters, candidates, current public officials, and other parties who have a vested interest in Westwood and the surrounding communities.
The purpose of this informal meeting is to further stimulate and discuss the issues surrounding the town of Westwood’s future. Many residents have not had the pleasure of meeting many of the candidates running for contested Public Office here in Westwood, including:
- Steve Maggiacomo, School Committee
- Carol Lewis, School Committee
- Jack O’Brien, School Committee
- John Cummings, School Committee
- Jason Lee, Sewer Commissioner
- Jim Connors, Sewer Commissioner
Interestingly enough, this is also the first time that Westwood will be the home town for a Candidate for Federal Office (U.S. Congress Candidate Phil Dunkelbarger) and for State Office (State Senate Candidate Mike Walsh).
The event will be held at 51 Oriole Rd. in Westwood, MA 02090 from 7:00 pm to roughly 8:30 pm on Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Each resident will have the opportunity to informally meet with other concerned voters in town, in addition to any of the candidates who choose to attend.
This is a great event for all who are also interested in running for Public Office in the future, and for anyone wanting to make an informed choice at the polls on April 27, 2010. I strongly encourage you to make this event a priority, since limited time is available to meet the candidates before the election!
Questions and intentions to attend should be directed to: 781-223-1396 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS- Article copied with permission from http://gregagnew.com. Your source for community information, updates, and thoughts on town politics.